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The Importance of Making a First Impression


The above photo was taken on the main street of a small business into which I recently walked.

After reading the sign on the front door before I went in, my first impression had already been clearly established.

I consistently mention in my Customer Service programs about the critical importance and value of first impressions. It is one of the ingredients that helps build customers for life.

I read a great article titled "Make your First Impression Count" by Barry Himmel and the following is the condensed version of his article.

A positive first impression is an important start to building a relationship with your customers.

1. First impressions delivered by phone.

This is a simple step, but it too often overlooked.
Personalize your greeting with a thank you for calling, your company's name, your name and an offer to assist. The tone of voice is also a first impression.

2. First impressions delivered in person.
The appearance of your store is critical. Are the floors clean, shelves orderly and maintained, checkout counter free of clutter? Even the condition of your parking lot, the landscaping, and the signage they use to get you to their front door is a first impression.

Everyone on your staff is also one of the first impressions of your business.
Never underestimate the power of your staff's appearance, smile, eye contact and body language.

3. Make First Impressions a Priority.
Each member of your staff has the power to build a customer for life with their first impression. Every employee should be consistent in their greeting and the first few sentences as they greet each customer.

The above three points from Mr. Himmel are tried and true examples to share with every employee on your payroll.

Perhaps a bit of your time would be well spent the moment you park your car as you walk to the front door of your office or business. Be an undercover observer for a few moments and look and see what your customers will see that day when they choose to drive past all the competition and get to your front door. Again, I invite you to have this as topic at one of your staff meetings and invite each team member to go out and personally be a secret shopper with first impression on their minds. Hospital, Auto Center, Shoe Store, or CPA office and have them share their thoughts when each returns. No business, small or large, or corporate offices are immune to making first impressions. If your customers went out of their way to open your front door, you need to go out of your way to make their first impressions the best they can be. It's what one does when one builds customers for life.

David Aaker- Customer Service Trainer Extraordinaire wrote the above article. David can be reached at

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Wyoming Retail Association (WRA)
P.O. Box 1003, Cheyenne, WY 82003  Phone: (307) 634-8816, Fax (307) 632-0249